Palmetto Sunrise: What's next for S.C.'s Department of Social Services?

The Department of Social Services has faced more scrutiny over the last year than any other state agency.

A Senate panel is continuing to take testimony and meet, and senators are readying legislation for the next legislative session to reform the department as child deaths under DSS's protective services have ignited a firestorm around the agency.

On Sunday, the Post and Courier's Cynthia Roldan reported that the department's toxic environment under the former director, Lillian Koller, has persisted despite her resignation two months ago. "We've told them this is a time bomb," a worker said. "It's hard when the hard part of this job is dealing with these people (management) and not child fatalities or broken bones."

On Tuesday, the Post and Courier looked at the other side of DSS, economic services, which oversees its welfare to work program. The department's focus on numbers known as "Wildly Important Goals" has not set well with critics and advocates for the poor, who say they don't see the department committing to former welfare recipients to help them succeed in the long-term.

Gov. Nikki Haley's administration has said they are responding to the challenges, and legislators who have said the agency needs reform know that change won't take place overnight. "We want to make sure that staff are supported in the work that they do," DSS Deputy Jessica Hanak-Coulter said of the challenges of the case workers who protect children. "We have been increasing the supervision and the capacity of the supervisors to support the work that they're doing."

Palmetto Politics Clicks

U.S. Rep Mark Sanford heads to China (P&C)

Study; S.C. poor in care of underprivileged children (WLTX)

Two amendments on the ballot in November (The State):

They approved language that explains an amendment that if passed would allow some charitable nonprofit groups to run raffles. A second amendment would change the state Constitution to change the adjutant general from being elected by voters to being appointed by the governor.

Petition candidate, Tom Ervin, out with new economic plan ad (The State)

Gov. Nikki Haley laments loss of Robin Williams on Facebook:

"Sad to hear we lost Robin Williams...RIP. I started watching him on Mork & Mindy. He will be missed."